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Dive Review of Dive Safari in
St. Maarten

November, 2004, an Instant Reader Report by James Heimer, TX, USA
Contributor   (15 reports)
Report Number 1476
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
Hawaii, Tahiti, N & S California, Norway, Malaysia, Indonesia, Bahamas,
Grand Cayman, Australia Barrier Reef, Honduras, Belize, St Thomas
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, windy  
choppy, surge  
Water Temp
74   to 77    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
30   to 50    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Dive guided by Divemaster with 12 divers in group from cruise ship,
Carnival Legend  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  2 stars
Large Fish
2 stars  
Large Pelagics
  1 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
3 stars  
Boat Facilities
2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
3 stars  
Shore Facilities  
Boat had separate rinse tank for cameras, but this was also the only place
to store them on boat to and from the nearby (10 min) site.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
3 stars
3 stars
Service and Attitude
3 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
3 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
2 stars   
4 stars    
This was by far the best of two experiences we have had diving with a group
organized by a cruise ship.  The previous experience at St Thomas from the
Carnival Triumph was an overpriced ($70) one tank shore dive from a popular
tourist beach.  This, however, was a moderately challenging, two tank boat
dive with a very professional dive operation on a new, well laid out boat. 
The cost was $90 for two dives, including all equipment, which was below
the cost to walk up to the shop and do the same dives and rent all of the

The group was met at the cruise ship gangplank by the dive staff, who
warned us that 6 foot swells were running at the sites.  My wife and I
immediately downed bonine.  The dive staff noted who needed what equipment,
and we were then shuttled over to the dive shop to pick up BC's (everything
else was on the boat, including weight belts set up with the weights we had
specified) and board the boats for the 10 minute ride to the sites.

We first dove Proselyte, the wreck of an 18th century sailing vessel. 
There are numerous cannon, anchors and bits of the ship scattered about the
shallow reef.  The swells were daunting, and there were several cases of
mal de mer.  The entry was a giant stride off the stern, each group of 6
divers met their dive master / guide on the tag line and decended for the
45 minute / 60 foot dive.  Aside from the shipwreck, the area is carpetted
by mulit colored soft corals and sponges.  There was surge all the way to
the bottom.  The exit was to surface after a safety stop, pull into the
boat on the tag line, remove fins and hand them to the dive master in the
water, and climb out.  This was easier than I had expected, and the dive
staff in the water and on the boat were very attentive to assit the

The second dive was at The Maze.  There were the same soft corals and
sponges and the most amazingn assemblage of lobsters on a small vertical
rock face that I have encountered, with 3 to five in each of the dozen or
so holes in the wall.

The Dive Safari staff said that these conditions of large swells,
underwater surge, and somewhat limited visibility were typical of St
Maarten (we were diving on the Dutch side on the south), although in the
afternoon as the cruise ship left and passed by the sites, the sea had
turned to glass.  There is more sheltered diving, and a one tank beginner
dive was also offered in one of these bays.
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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